1On the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year, a message from the Lord came to me, saying,
2“Son of man, write down today's date, because this is the day that the king of Babylon started his siege of Jerusalem.
3Then repeat the following parable to these rebellious people. Tell them that this is what the Lord God says: Get a pot and set it on the fire. Pour in some water.
4Fill it with some good cuts of meat from the thigh and the shoulder. Put in the best bones.
5Choose the best animal from the flock. Pile up the fuel underneath it. Get it boiling and cook the bones in it.
6So this is what the Lord God says: Disaster is coming to the city of that has shed so much blood! It is symbolized by the rusted pot, whose rust can't be cleaned off. Take out the meat bit by bit as it comes—don't choose which piece.
7For the blood she shed is still inside the city. She shed it openly on bare rock—she didn't even spill it on the ground and cover it up with dirt.
8In my anger and to punish, I have spilled her blood openly on bare rock, so it wouldn't be covered up.
9So this is what the Lord God says: Disaster is coming to the city of that has shed so much blood. I will also pile up a large heap of firewood.
10Put on plenty of wood and light the fire. Make sure the meat is well cooked and add spices. Burn the bones.
11Then put the empty pot back on the burning coals until it's hot and the copper metal glows. This will melt the dirt inside it and get rid of the rust.
12So far it's been impossible to clean it —even fire couldn't burn out all its rust.
13Because of your immorality you had made yourself unclean and I tried to clean you, but you refused to let me clean away your filth. So now you won't be pure again until I've finished being angry with you.
14I, the Lord, have spoken. The time is soon coming when I will do what I say. I won't change my mind or show pity, I won't stop. I will judge you by your attitude and actions, declares the Lord God.”
15A message from the Lord came to me, saying,
16“Son of man, look, I'm about to take away the one you love the most. She will die. But you must not mourn or weep. Don't cry any tears.
17Mourn in silence. Don't have any rituals for the dead. Dress normally—have your turban on and put your sandals on your feet. Don't veil your face and don't eat the bread used by mourners.”
18I talked to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. The next morning I did as I'd been told.
19The people asked me, “What are you doing? Aren't you going to explain to us what this means?”
20So I told them, “A message from the Lord came to me, saying:
21Tell the people of Israel that this is what the Lord God says: I am about to make my sanctuary unclean, this place you're so proud of that you think gives you power, the place you love so much, the place that makes you happy. Your sons and daughters that you left behind will be killed by the sword.
22Then you'll do what I did. You won't veil your face or eat the bread used by mourners.
23You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You won't mourn or weep, but you will die inside because of your sins, and you will groan to one another.
24In this way Ezekiel will be a sign for you; you will do everything that he did. When this happens, then you will know that I am the Lord God.
25You, son of man, should know that when I destroy their fortress that is their pride and joy, the place they looked to for comfort and happiness —and their sons and daughters too—
26when that happens someone who managed to get away will come and give you the news.
27On that day you will be able to speak; you won't be mute any longer. This is how you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”